The Side Effects of Rapid Weight Loss on Your Hair

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In an article titled The Bald Truth about Female Hair Loss dated September 28, 2012,  The Independent Woman discusses the issue of Alopecia for women. 

“It’s estimated that hair loss affects about 25 per cent of the female population in Ireland. It is a hugely complex problem – reasons for hair loss can range from a serious underlying medical condition to poor diet, high stress levels, certain medications and hormone imbalance.”

When you combine these factors with some of the latest weight loss diets,  you can end up with a problem. 

If you are overweight, weight loss is an important part of getting healthy, and the best way to lose weight is through a combination of diet and exercise. However, some people go overboard when it comes to weight loss, trying to lose more than is healthy at any given time. For most people, healthy weight loss is about 1 to 2 pounds per week, though it may be a bit more during the first few weeks if you have a considerable amount of weight to lose to reach your target weight.

Not only do people on diets often try to lose weight too quickly, many people choose very restrictive diets that change not only how many calories they can consume in a day, but what type of foods they can eat as well. Unfortunately losing too much weight too fast through a restrictive diet can have side effects, even on your hair.

Protein Deficient Diets

Your hair is literally made of protein, so it probably makes sense that a protein deficient diet will result in unhealthy hair. People who choose diets that are deficient in protein in order to limit their caloric intake will often have damaged dry hair that looks a bit frizzy or simply very dull. In extreme cases, protein deficient diets can lead to strands of broken hair and hair loss.

Instead of picking a diet that takes away too much protein for your body to function properly, substitute high-fat protein rich foods like beef for lean skinless chicken or turkey and reduce your portion size instead of cutting it out altogether. While a protein deficient diet is very bad for your hair, it can also cause other serious health problems, so make sure you get enough – about 45 grams per day for women and 55 grams per day for men.

Vitamin Deficient Diets The main problem with diets that severely restrict your caloric intake or limit you to only a very specific group of foods is that it can be very hard to get enough of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your body and hair need to function and look their best. Iron, vitamin B, vitamin E, selenium, magnesium and copper are all essential vitamins and nutrients that your hair needs to maintain its shape and overall healthy appearance.

Unfortunately, if you have a very restrictive diet, you may not know if you’re getting all of the vitamins and nutrients your hair needs, unlike people on more typical diets, who don’t have to worry as much since it’s hard to maintain a vitamin deficiency on a standard calorie diet. If your body is lacking iron and other necessary vitamins and nutrients you may even begin to lose your hair or notice that your hair is thinning. Unfortunately, this process can continue as long as you stay on a vitamin deficient diet.

Vitamins for Hair Growth

A healthy diet is important for maintaining your hair’s natural health, and you can do this if you are very careful with what you eat, even if you are trying to lose weight. However, many men and women could benefit from  vitamin supplements – specific vitamins for hair growth. If you notice any changes in your hair during your diet, supplements could help resolve the problems, especially if you are vitamin deficient. Most vitamins for hair growth contain the necessary ingredients for healthy hair like iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin E in amounts that are appropriate for natural hair health. In many cases, taking vitamins for hair growth can actually help to re-grow or repair hair that is lost or damaged because of a vitamin deficient diet.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Los Angeles focusing on health and fitness.  You can learn about her by following her on Twitter

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